Month: February 2012


Triumph On The River: Outward Bound Veterans

There is clarity here—found in the crystal blue glacier water and up along the golden ridges and swaying pines separating land from sky. It also emerges from the words and playful anticipation of those who have arrived—out of uniform—to canoe the braided channels and rapids of the historic North Saskatchewan River. For some of the veterans, the 106-kilometre journey down through the Alberta foothills to Rocky Mountain House is definitely about stepping outside the comfort zone. After all, this is wilderness. It is bear country, too, and not everyone is comfortable with that or paddling through white water that could make you swim. For others, it is not so much an endurance test as a chance to “get away” and breathe in the indiscriminate power and restorative qualities of nature with ...

Canadian Special Forces in the News

Canada's rarely-heard-from Special Operations Forces have popped up in the news a bit recently. Allan Woods of the Toronto Star has just today revealed the behind-the-scenes story of the new Special Ops base being built near CFB Trenton. While the new base reportedly intends to unite Canadian various special operations units -- JTF2 is currently in Dwyer Hill, just outside of Ottawa; CSOR is in Petawawa along with 427 Helicopter Squadron, while CJIRU is already at CFB Trenton -- the unfortunate downside is that the federal government is going to have to kick some people off their land (expropriation, being the legal term of choice here) in order to make the thing a reality. In other Special Ops news, here's a small video of CSOR members training foreign forces in Africa. Interesting stuf...

Tecumseh museum proposed

A  group in southern Ontario is raising money to build an eight-acre outdoor museum to celebrate Chief Tecumseh , a First Nations hero of the War of 1812. The Friends of the Tecumseh Monument have plans for a $4 million interpretive centre at the site of the Battle of the Thames,  about 30 kilometres northeast of Chatham, Ont., where Tecumseh fell Oct. 5, 1813, After the Battle of Lake Erie  in September, Brigadier General Henry Procter, the British commander at Detroit, began a retreat across the Ontario peninsula, pursued by about 3,500 U.S. troops under Brigadier General (later President) William Henry Harrison.  The forces met near Moraviantown on the Thames River. The British, with 600 regulars and about 1,000 native allies under Shawnee chief Tecumseh, were outnumbered and defeat...

Time machine to the Second World War

The Army News website offers a peek into history with upbeat newsreel footage form the Second World War. Time Machine features newsreels covering soldiers on the ground, ships at sea, planes in the air.  Other topics include women in uniform, using pigeons for communications, what happens at a  casualty clearing station, use of bicycles for quicker "marches." The episodes are also posted on YouTube, where it's easier to browse through the topics.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae,Nov. 30, 1872-Jan 28, 1918

The gentle physician, poet and artist from Guelph, Ont., was an experienced soldier when he met his death overseas.  He had served during the Boer War, but nothing could prepare him, or anyone, for the horrors of the battles of the First World War. McCrae with his dog Bonneau, in France, courtesy Veterans Affairs Canada He wrote  In Flanders Fields, perhaps the best known poem of the First World War,  in 1915 after his close friend Alexis Helmer was killed in the Second Battle of Ypres, one of 6,000 Canadian casualties in just two days.  In a letter to his mother he described the battle as a nightmare.  "For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gun...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Aug. 4, 1944

Dear Mrs. Cameron, I am the padre in this hospital where your son is a patient. He has already written you by ordinary mail, and I suggested to him that I write to you to let you know how he is getting along. He has a gun shot wound in the chest—serious but not dangerous. He will probably be evacuated to England soon. Meanwhile, he is being well looked after. Our hospital has every facility for the best of treatment and comfort and he is quite happy. His medical officer has just told me that his condition is quite satisfactory. With all kind regards, Chas. Mackay Cameron

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